Lucie Petit, the founder of HK MODEL CAMP, on the magic of confidence
Beauty + brains = Lucie Petit, a stunning French model based in Hong Kong.
Beauty + brains = Lucie Petit, a stunning French model based in Hong Kong. In this edition of our Human Stories segment, we catch up with Petit on how her business, HK MODEL CAMP, has been developing since the last time we talked to her.
We recap on her life, how she developed in the modeling industry and how she harnesses her inner introvert in order to flourish in front of the camera.
Initially moving to Hong Kong with the intention of being here only for the duration of a three-month contract, she ended up falling in love with the city and staying. Throughout her career, Petit has worked with brands like Kate Spade, Calvin Klein, Armani and Victoria’s Secret, but now, alongside her contracts, she coaches people on building their confidence with her start-up, HK MODEL CAMP.
Get you a girl that can do both, as the saying goes. In front of the camera, her expressiveness exudes untouchable girl-boss vibes, and yet, in person, her charming, sweet and accommodating personality could make butter melt. She speaks with us on her journey into modeling, harnessing the power of confidence and self-acceptance.
HK MODEL CAMP
Petit’s HK MODEL CAMP is a modeling school based in Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, that offers more than tips for posing on camera or strutting down the runway.
“We aim to combine personal development with modeling, in a sense that we create empowering experiences for people to express themselves, artistically, no matter who they are,” says Petit.
Breaking away from the stereotypes of the modeling industry, she focuses her business primarily on building her clients’ confidence, with the aim of making them feel good about themselves.
No matter a person’s gender, age, weight or height, Petit’s business focuses on how people feel, whether in front of the camera or in real life. HK MODEL CAMP teaches students how to walk and feel confident in their own skin, and not just within the confines of typical industry beauty standards or making it in the industry. From kids to teenagers to working women, HK MODEL CAMP has all age ranges of clients signing up for courses in confidence.
“Everything is still evolving,” Petit says, explaining that the model camp is growing and shifting at all times. Although not why it was initially developed, HK MODEL CAMP has also been able to network organically by connecting clients in its network. Petit explains that clients might call up, saying they’d like to become a model, while other clients turn to the camp to ask to find models for jobs.
The Coco Rocha experience
Petit says that she always had a passion for mentoring and teaching, but something that really stuck with her was her own experience at supermodel Coco Rocha’s model camp in New York. The Canadian supermodel started her model camp back in 2018 and, having been a big fan of hers for many years, Petit was able to attend the camp in 2019.
“It was such a wonderful experience because I joined at the time that I was also doubting myself as a model and even the way I was seeing the future of my career as well,” says Petit.
She mentions her appreciation for discovering another door within the modeling industry and the community of sisterhood the camp harnessed. “There are so many different other jobs that you can reach out to and eventually grow even more skills that you were not even aware that you had,” says Petit.
Needless to say, the camp brought her an incredible amount of tools that she would later pass on to her own students. The main thing, Petit stresses, is confidence, as well as the technicalities of modeling, like geometry and body angles. Modeling is similar to silent acting, she was taught. It’s more about presenting yourself in front of the camera, expressing yourself wordlessly with only your face and body.
After the incredibly positive experience she had at Coco Rocha Model Camp, Petit knew that she wanted to bring something like it back to Hong Kong. Although she started her business at a more complicated time when COVID hit, she still powered on through, adapting to regulations and giving her clients the best experience she possibly could.
On carrying confidence
When asked about Petit’s own journey with confidence, she smiles. “I mean, there’s always ups and down, right?” she says. “For everyone.”
Petit explains that once you master some skills in confidence, you are able to quickly identify when you need a boost and what to do in order to stay on top of it.
“Definitely try not to take it personally,” Petit advises those who are breaking into the industry. The industry is challenging and highly competitive, so harnessing confidence can be hard work for some. Sometimes it’s the energy of confidence that a client picks up on that sets you apart from others.
“It is going in a circle in the sense that if you don't have the confidence, they're not going to book you, but then if they don't book you, you don't have the confidence to then go again and show a good attitude, you know?” Petit points out. She urges those getting started in their modeling careers to realize that if they aren’t selected for a job, the clients could have just been looking for something different at the time. She stresses that another time will come when it will be their turn to shine.
Petit looks back to her own experiences when she was 15 and struggling with her own confidence. She remembers shaking in front of the camera, feeling like she had no idea what she was doing and feeling little to no confidence.
“It’s nice to see that, you know, now that I look at my career compared to where I was when I was 15 – you just gotta keep going and believing in yourself,” Petit says.
Working on confidence is a constant process of harnessing new skills and honing in on the skills that have been already developed. It’s important to identify tools that keep us confident, whether it’s listening to music, attending HK MODEL CAMP (wink, wink), or watching movies that make you feel good. But then there are always times where you acknowledge that you're not feeling your best, and that’s when you need to work on keeping it up.
Brushups vs. boldness
The reality of the modeling industry is that the model isn’t doing it for themselves and what the final outcome may be, but they're doing it because that’s what they are getting paid for, Petit explains. She tells us of a time when her photo was edited so much to look like what the client imagined the ideal version of herself to be.
“Now, the difference is that if you join some of our services, for example, we would try to make sure that you are okay with the way that you look,” says Petit.
Personally, Petit is able to detach herself from how the edits are done. She says that she knows how she looks, and she is alright if others want to see her in a different way. Altering her image makes her someone else, but she is able to distance herself with that.
“It’s about being okay with yourself,” Petit says.
Building back up
COVID was a challenging time for many people, so we asked Petit what we could do to rebuild our confidence. She emphasizes the importance of doing what always used to make us happy and doing more of that.
“The pandemic honestly has kinda, like, inhibited us in that sense of not doing as many things – not being as social, like even simple things like listening to some music or watching some movies or reading books. Like, there are so many different resources that you can use to help boost your confidence,” she says.
“Surrounding yourself as well with people who truly, genuinely support you is also really important.” Her eyes glitter as she says, “Yeah! Join HK MODEL CAMP!”